The newest bone health products are increasingly diverse.
Even as the bone health supplements market begins to attract younger consumers, older adults still remain the top demographic for bone support products. A rising incidence of osteoporosis and bone injuries among older adults has Mordor Intelligence predicting that the bone health supplements market will post 6.6% compound annual growth through to 2027, driven primarily by North American consumers.
The Mordor report also contends that the bone health market is fragmented in nature, with no suppliers having a majority of market share.1 This feasibly leaves opportunity for emerging companies with market-disrupting products. For supplement brands keeping up with recent product trends and anticipating future demands, here’s an update on recent bone health developments.
Diet Alone Insufficient for Vitamin D Needs
The bone health market presents a tremendous opportunity for vitamin D supplements as we recognize that diet alone often fails to meet aging consumers’ nutritional needs, says Simon Pettman, executive director of the International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations (IADSA; London).
Policymakers are taking note and adjusting their recommendations for older adults. Most recently, “The Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office has started a communication campaign to over-65s,” Pettman says. “This campaign recommends vitamin D supplements in addition to a balanced diet. In their communications, they make it clear that diet alone does not provide sufficient quantities of vitamin D, and supplements are therefore required.”
In 2021, IADSA implemented its Mind The Gap awareness campaign highlighting the connection between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of falls among seniors. In 2011, the European Food Safety Authority approved a health claim stating that daily vitamin D supplementation of 800 to 1000 IU helps reduce the risk of falling when taken in combination with calcium.2
Vitamin D may not be new to the market, but the evidence supporting the use of vitamin D supplements in reducing risks of falls and bone fractures makes it a mainstay no bone health brand can ignore. With Mordor Intelligence predicting the vitamin D market to grow by 7.2% per year through 2026, this staple supplement is a good hedge for bone health brands.3
Minerals Optimize Bioavailability
Bone health blends are getting smarter, with synergistic combinations aiming to increase nutrient absorption. In January 2022, Gadot Biochemical Industries (Haifa Bay, Israel) launched its branded Cal2Mag, a calcium-and-magnesium blend standardized to a 2:1 ratio of calcium citrate to magnesium citrate. The company’s CEO Ohad Cohen noted in a press release that Gadot chose the citrate forms of these minerals because they are flavor neutral, they don’t interfere with the absorption of other minerals, and diet has no effect on their absorption in the body.
“Without magnesium, calcium supplements can cause a negative effect of vascular calcification, depositing itself on the aortic wall, kidneys, arteries, and cartilage,” Cohen said in the press release. “Balancing calcium with the right amount of magnesium is good for potentially mitigating those harmful issues.”
TCM Herbs Increase Bone Strength
While most bone health products typically involve some combination of vitamins like D3 or K2 and minerals like calcium, emerging research suggests that herbal ingredients have a role to play in supporting bone health.
In January 2021, Chenland Nutritionals (Irvine, CA) launched its branded EuBone botanical blend of traditional Chinese medicinal herbs Eucommia ulmoides, Drynaria fortunei, and Cuscuta chinensis. EuBone regulates the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus in a bidirectional manner, regulates osteoblasts and osteoclasts, and acts on the RANKL/OPG pathway to decrease the ratio of the receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand, a cytokine, to osteoprotegerin, the company says.4
According to materials provided by Chenland Nutritionals, a 180-day, single-center, open-label human clinical trial examined the safety and efficacy of EuBone supplementation in women between the ages of 50 and 80 with mild to moderate osteoporosis. EuBone was found to increase blood concentrations of estradiol by 2.9 times and to increase bone mineral density by 2.4%. While this unpublished trial lacked a control group, it builds on the body of evidence established by previous animal studies that showed significant improvements in bone strength and mineral density, the firm says.5
Bone Health: Call for Innovation
Legacy ingredients like vitamins and minerals have traditionally dominated the bone health ingredients market. Emerging research is now enabling formulators and brands to reimagine formulations, giving legacy ingredients a new lease on life even as newer herbals enter the market. Given the growing aging population, the bone health market will offer brands ample room to run, whether they choose to innovate with emerging ingredients, stick to proven mainstays, or find some combination of the two.